Each new volley that’s thrown in the ongoing dispute surrounding Dylan Farrow’s harrowing Times op-ed seems to be more brutal than the last, and while we’re skeptical of anyone willing to dismiss the issue as a “private family matter”—this is accused molestation we’re talking about here, a prosecutable crime, not just a fight over whether or not to invite an irritating cousin for the holidays—the whole thing does feel like having a front row seat to the worst, most wrenching kind of parental dispute, the kind that forces everyone involved to take sides and becomes fodder for decades worth of dinner table fights and therapist appointments. Nothing about this is anything but nightmarish. Naturally, then, the New York Post has helpfully stepped in to make the whole thing a little bit worse.
In a lurid little Page Six piece that went online last night, Richard Johnson dredged up a 46-year-old incident in which Mia Farrow claimed Maharishi Mahesh Yogi—the Beatles’ preferred guru at the time—had groped her during a visit to India, fleeing his cave in tears and causing the Beatles to abandon the Maharishi has well. Supposedly, when asked what was wrong, John Lennon told him, “If you’re so fucking cosmic, you’ll know,” which is a pretty fantastic burn, if he actually said it. But not especially relevant to whether or not Allen did indeed molest his 7-year-old daughter.
Johnson also adds a cryptic note that “meanwhile, Woody’s supporters haven’t forgotten that Mia’s brother John Farrow, 67, is a convicted child molester behind bars in Maryland.” Which means what, exactly? That on account of said brother, she forced Dylan to concoct these horrific stories, which seem to have hurt the Farrow women much more than they have Allen? Or, more realistically, that Farrow has a troubled family history with this stuff, the likes of which make it all the more likely for the cycle abuse to continue in the lives of most people who encounter it. Also worth remembering the accusations here are coming from Dylan Farrow, not Mia.
A few days ago, the paper also mentioned accusations from Stacey Nelkin—who inspired the the middle-aged-man-dating-high-school-student plotline in Manhattan—that Farrow had “tried to recruit her years ago in her war against Allen” to say that she’d started dating the then-42-year-old director at 15, rather than 17, which is still illegally young. As Emily McCombs put it earlier this week, ” I don’t even need molestation charges to know Woody Allen is a scumbag. Having sex with your girlfriend’s 19-year-old daughter is plenty, thanks.” Even on the off-chance he has genuinely never crossed any legal lines with any of these young women, none of this reflects well on him.
Given that the statute of limitations has long expired on any possible charges to be pressed against Allen for his alleged crimes against Farrow, this whole thing is somewhat doomed to play out in the court of public opinion, and as a push-and-pull over how our culture’s supposed to approach the indisputably important work of an indisputably creepy man. But quietly taunting someone for past sexual abuse and a troubled family life? That’d be pretty easy to leave out of it.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.